The site includes the whole western coastline of Île Amsterdam and consists of vertical cliffs that reach 731 m, together with a small ledge at their base. The vegetation is composed mainly of tussock-grasses and rushes. It covers much of the site, but is thickest towards the bottom of the cliffs. There is a single cabin on the site, used occasionally by research teams.
See Box for key species. At least seven species breed. The site is home to one of the largest colonies of Diomedea chlororhynchos in the world, approximately 19,000 pairs (declining) or 20% of the world’s population. There is also a large rookery of Eudyptes chrysocomemoseleyi (25,000 pairs). At least two species, Procellaria cinerea and Pterodroma mollis, which are rare on Amsterdam due to predation by cats and rats, are thought to breed.
Non-bird biodiversity: A large population of the seal Arctocephalus tropicalis (5,700 pups in 1982) occurs. Offshore Orcinus orca (LR/cd) are seen regularly. Three endemic plant species and 10 endemic arthropod species have been recorded.
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
The site is an ‘Area restricted to scientific and technical research’, to which access is limited. Both cats and rats are a serious threat to petrel populations and may have been the cause of the local extinction of several species. Thanks to their inaccessibility, the vegetation of the cliff-ledges has never been grazed by the once-feral cattle.
BirdLife International (2019) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Falaises d'Entrecasteaux. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 13/11/2019.